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Poster: steam locomotive Date: May 13, 2010 12:43pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Transitions vs. medleys

I was listening to the Wharf Rat > Franklin's Tower from 7/8/78 this morning, and was struck by the laziness of the shift between songs, particularly after such a sweet version of WR.

I think this as much as anything else characterizes the difference between earlier and later Dead: in the former, between-song jams really take on lives of their own, and provide thematic and often unexpected bridges to the next track; in the latter, the band more often brings one song to its natural conclusion, then dives into the next, as if playing a medley. This actually kind of depresses me, as greatest hits medleys are staples of nostalgia act concerts.

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Poster: buscameby Date: May 13, 2010 2:49pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Transitions vs. medleys

There is no denying this by any of the later generation proponents, just look at the song lengths and its obvious that Jerry was wasted from 77' on!

He either hated being Jerry as has been reported or he was so preoccupied with getting high he used it as a excuse to get off the stage sooner and with less delivery of the GOODS.

That said, I only saw 77' on and I still loved being there till 85' and then it was so hit and miss I had to find other reasons to stay when it got ridiculous.

Jerry does have Bob and Brent to thank for having even less inspiring songs that made his later stuff sound good.

But Jams were short and were actually more there to remind us of what we lost I'm afraid.

Thank God for IA and the wealth of material to listen to now.

Also I love the new incarnations of bands playing it like its new to them with the aid of the old ones who are still around and still love to play it. There are still some great moments to be experienced within the realm of these notes played with passion and fervor.

Jerry's dead but the music didn't belong to him alone and he didn't always respect it enough to live up to its promise. But I'd still give my right testy to see him play it again*S*

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Poster: skuzzlebutt Date: May 13, 2010 1:34pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Transitions vs. medleys

Well put. This is something that's come up before and i'm inclined to agree. One of the notable characteristics of the Dead's gradual decline was the shrinking, and eventual death, of the true transition jam. I'm talking about when the boys wind up a song, then take the music out for a good long spin down some backroads before arriving back at the start of the next tune. By the 80s, the between song "jams" were really little more than Jerry noodling aimelessly while the rest of the band just sort of sits on their hands waiting to start the next tune. They aren't really transtioning, they're just not coming to a complete stop. Yes there are exceptions and yes there still some stellar moments during the songs themselves, but to me that's part of what makes the average 80s and 90s show so dull compared to a show from the glory days.

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Poster: direwolf0701 Date: May 13, 2010 2:38pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Transitions vs. medleys

i agree with Cliff - very well put indeed (sadly but truly)

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Poster: William Tell Date: May 13, 2010 3:22pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Transitions vs. medleys

Ah, latter era fan has to submit...humbly, and with grace.

I salute you.

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Poster: direwolf0701 Date: May 13, 2010 3:54pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Transitions vs. medleys

who are you calling a latter era fan??!!

;)



I still love 80-83, 87-90 - but most assuredly, the best jams lie in the years 68-79 (79 has some jawdropping exploratory jams during Brent's initial tenure)

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Poster: William Tell Date: May 13, 2010 4:34pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Transitions vs. medleys

go Celtics!

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Poster: direwolf0701 Date: May 14, 2010 7:12am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Transitions vs. medleys

talk about a team giving up! what the hell were the Cavs doing at the end or the game? thinking about tee times?

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Poster: BataviaSparky Date: May 13, 2010 8:21pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Transitions vs. medleys

Put your money where your mouth is and hit me with a couple of those early Brent era jams you cite!!!!!

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Poster: direwolf0701 Date: May 14, 2010 7:14am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Transitions vs. medleys

since i dont have an eidetic memory, i will search out a few - also a couple of good ones in '81

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Poster: barongsong Date: May 14, 2010 12:06pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Transitions vs. medleys

I completely agree that the transitional jams were what was lacking in the later days but just to be the devils advocate I find that there are many nice instances where the inner song jam expanded beyond what in had been before. Bird Song and Jack Straw come to mind. Actually 91 and 81 are both later era years that have some interesting transitional Jams in them although defiantly not nearly on the scale and regularity of the early era stuff, it did still happen very nicely sometimes.

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Poster: Cliff Hucker Date: May 13, 2010 1:53pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Transitions vs. medleys

Very well put Mr. skuzzlebutt!

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Poster: William Tell Date: May 13, 2010 1:42pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Transitions vs. medleys

SL: I tend to agree; stuck in my early era, I only call it a legit ">" if they really BRIDGE the tunes, which of course, when they worked so hard on the suites, back in 68 & 69, this came naturally enough (thru hard practice though). Though some don't care for them, the M&MU and BMGee "inside" an OOne during late 71 also struck me as "natural", well bridged...certainly no "let up" in intensity, which I think is what you're driving at.

The winding down of a song, then the start of another, doesn't really qualify IMHO (as you note).

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: May 14, 2010 7:43am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Transitions vs. medleys

It is one of the biggest complaints I have with the 80's>, Dead ; the 2nd sets connecting "jams" are so perfunctory , and rushed ( "come on, lets get this done, I want to ( fill in vice )...). It is especially annoying when they do get something special going , and it gets chopped . How many times I wish Bob would let the Jerry ballad go longer ,or at least give it a tasteful fade-down, or transition . I would love to have heard "Days Between" go on , and deeper . I always judge a "Wheel", by how much they float around in the beginning , and how spacey it is .
The example you give surprises me a bit, as in 78, they could still do the transition thing . For comparison, I checked the the same transition on 1/10/78 ( I was at the show), and yes it is a pretty quick jump to FT from WR, but some of the transitions earlier in the set are more drawn out . Also, in 78 , there are "Wharf Rats" that do take it out longer , and lovingly so . At this period, they seem to have a bigger variety of transitions, everything from the quick jump, to long slow transitional jams .
I remember a Head I worked with, saying this in the mid 80's " I wish they would just end the song, rather than have these fake segues " . It was almost like , "Oh we are the Grateful Dead, so we have to have every song in our 2nd set go together ".

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: May 13, 2010 1:55pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Transitions vs. medleys

Off the top, check out the transition between Victim and Fire 8-16-91. Spooky .. But I agree SL

This post was modified by micah6vs8 on 2010-05-13 20:55:16